Women's Empowerment in Business
The San Rafael Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Women of Industry Committee welcomes you to the Women's Empowerment in Business webpage, comprised of empowering blog posts, and a calendar of events which will feature conversations by women that are of interest to women in business.
If you would like to contribute a blog post, please submit to Leslie Piper at email@example.com.
Our Most Recent Blog
Our Most Recent Blog
Empowering Women in a Job Search
Women in business face specific challenges. Whether it’s breaking out of what society wants us to be, balancing careers and family, finding representation in executive/leadership roles, or breaking down stereotypes, it can be a challenge. Conducting a job search can highlight all of these challenges and make the process even more difficult than it already is.
See below five tips for women in a job search:
1. Be confident in your skills and experience
Many women interview for jobs and discount their experience, thinking it’s not enough. They point out what they don’t know or haven’t done instead of highlighting what they do know and how their experience can relate to the position.
When you walk into an interview (or log in to Zoom these days), remember that the potential employer has seen your resume and already knows your work history. And even if you’re missing some type of experience that you think you should have, they still want to interview you because they think you might be a great fit. Be proud of your skills and experience, and go in with confidence in what you can bring to the job.
2. Apply to the job even if you don’t match 100% of the qualifications
Students ask me all the time if they have enough experience to apply for a specific job. According to T.S. Mohr of the Harvard Business Review, “Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.”
Let’s change this! I would challenge you to take another look at the posting, and instead of seeing if you check all of the boxes under qualifications, ask yourself if you can do the job. Read and understand the job posting (and Google the terms that you don’t know!), and think about your skills to determine if you think you can do it. Not every box needs to be checked, that’s an employer’s wish list, and most candidates don’t meet every single qualification.
You have nothing to lose by applying, so go for it!
3. Ask questions to see if the job is right for you.
Think about what questions and concerns you have about the job. Concerned about Glassdoor reviews that repeatedly mention a toxic culture? Wondering if the company encourages professional and career growth? Curious if the company values work/life balance?
The end of an interview is your time to ask those questions.
Now, it’s important to be thoughtful in the wording of these questions, especially for some of the more sticky ones. For example, if you’re concerned about negative company reviews, you could say, “During my research on the company, I came across many reviews on Glassdoor. I read about how the company promotes from within, which is great. I also noticed that many reviews mention a toxic culture. Do you have any thoughts on that?”
Listen to their answers - do they brush it aside? Or do they speak to it and talk about how they’re aware of that culture and are doing X, Y, Z to make changes within the company? It is then up to you to decide how you feel about their responses and if you still want to move forward in the hiring process.
Remember that you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you.
4. Negotiate your salary based on your skills, experience, and the value you’ll bring to the company.
Women earn $0.82 for every $1.00 a man earns. And the gap is even wider for women of color. It’s time to close that gap! How? Ask for more money. How?
- Get the job offer.
- Ask if there is flexibility and give your counteroffer.
- Explain how your background, skills, and experience will help you quickly get up and running in the position and provide value to the company.
5. Track your successes and accomplishments
We all need to manage our own careers. No one else will do it for us (but wouldn’t that be nice?). Everyone should have a running document somewhere on their computer or a journal at the office, where you track your successes, big projects, and accomplishments. It’s easy to forget how amazing we are, especially after a few months go by.
A big deal that you closed or a project that you completed under budget? Three months later, it starts to fade away. So document it all! When it’s time to prepare for an interview, performance review, or salary review, take a peek at that document to remind yourself (and your employer!) of how amazing you are.
Job searching is arduous, but you’ve got this!
Written by: Courtney Budesa, Director, Internships and Professional Development
Women of Industry Event
Honoring Exceptional Women in Business in Marin County.
Since 2013 the San Rafael Chamber and the Women of Industry committee have annually recognized a businesswoman demonstrating excellence in her field while significantly impacting the community and beyond. The Women of Industry event supports Marin County women in business and celebrates outstanding leadership.
Past Women of Industry Honorees
- 2013 The late Joan Capurro, Bank of Marin
- 2014 The late Ann Brebner, California Film Institute
- 2015 Patty Garbarino, Marin Sanitary Service
- 2016 Melissa Prandi, PRANDI Property Management
- 2017 Pat Kendall, Kaiser Permanente
- 2018 Stephanie Plante, CPi Developers & Mary Kay Sweeney, Homeward Bound
- 2019 Cynthia Murray, North Bay Leadership Council
- 2021 Helen Russell, Equator Coffees
Women's Empowerment in Business Blog
Career Advice That Works
Have you ever had a friend or colleague ask if you would speak with a student or a young adult thinking about a career in your field? I get this request a few times a year, and I always try to connect with young people interested in a career in commercial real estate. A lot of the guidance I share with others is based on my own experiences, and being successful is different for everyone. Here’s my success story.
Over 20 years ago, I started my career in real estate, working for a large property management firm in San Francisco. The company was male-dominated, with only one woman on the executive staff. Most of the other females were receptionists, admins, and assistant property managers. My manager, however, was a Senior Property Manager, and she was one of the few at a high level. I learned a lot from her as she opened my eyes to what it takes to be a strong woman in business. This established my foundation in commercial real estate, which leads to some thoughts that have helped me succeed in the business.
When I first got my real estate license, I worried that people wouldn’t take me seriously because I had no sales experience. However, after a few years, I realized it wasn’t just about sales experience. I was great at listening to my clients and understanding their needs. Also, I was honest, and I had no trouble telling potential clients what I didn’t know. Instead of trying to fake my way through a conversation, I would let them know I’d get the answers and follow up within 12 - 24 hours.
My motto from day one has always been to be true to myself. Sometimes this means holding to your ideals, even if it hurts your bottom line. I fired a client for giving me long hugs before each meeting. I gently informed him I was uncomfortable with the hugs, but he continued. When I told him that we could not work together anymore, he refused to pay my full commission. Yes, that ticked me off, but I felt empowered because I took care of myself. These days, I focus on business relationships and opportunities that are more meaningful and set boundaries right away.
Lastly, I’ve established an incredible network, which has helped me grow personally and professionally. The key to success in any field is to make sure you have an excellent business support group. I’ve built my network by volunteering, joining chambers and networking groups, and finding a few solid businesspeople to refer clients to. In turn, they have referred clients to me. These days, over half of the referrals I receive are professional women looking for a commercial space to purchase or lease.
The bottom line is: Honesty, listening, and being true to yourself will help you succeed in any business.
Written By: Lynsey Kayser
The Work-Life Puzzle: If there is no balance and there are way too many compartmentalizations, what is there? Life!
Boost your Energy with Good Nutrition and Feel your Best!